Stop #14: Westport

Number of nights: 1
Distance: 321 KM (3,386 KM Total)

We left Wharariki Beach in the pouring rain, and it pretty much followed us all the way down the coast. The day was spent mostly driving in these conditions, and by the end of the day we found ourselves in the quiet coastal town of Westport. I wish I could say more about this town, but we didn’t see much of it. From what we did see, it felt very much like what you’d expect from a town built for a major industry like coal mining: no charm, the streets in a perfect grid, and just the basic necessities. Fortunately I didn’t take any photos of Westport, so you’ve been spared.

Just west of town we went to Cape Foulwind, just to see what it smelled like. Much to our disappointment, no foul winds were found or inhaled.
The following morning things were looking up, weather-wise. This is the beautiful coast just south of Westport on our way to the Pancake Rocks
The pancake rocks, near Punakaiki. New Zealand is full of interesting rock formations named after popular food items, and this is one of the most popular. The sun had finally come out at this point, making it a much welcomed change from the previous few days.
There were also several blowholes scattered about the pancake rocks. This is not one of them.
Pancake rocks in the foreground, beautiful clouds and New Zealand coastline in the background.
More pancake rocks, taken with the wide-angle lens.
We kept waiting for a “blowhole” moment, but the big ones only came every 10 minutes or so. It was still fun to anticipate and predict whether a certain big wave was going to be “the one”, even though they rarely were.
Dominique always makes a picture better when she’s in it, but here she doesn’t really stand out. No matter, it’s still a beautiful shot of New Zealand coastline.
Blowhole central. We must have waited 10 minutes for this less than impressive splash.
Another spot to watch the blowhole waves come in.
Another great example of what makes New Zealand’s West Coast so beautiful.
After the sunny portion at the Pancake Rocks, we drove into rainy weather again, which was expected but disappointing all the same. We went to check out Hokitika Gorge, known for its very blue waters. Today the waters were not blue. It was also here that I found out by accident that our van’s rear hatch door makes a perfect cover for the rain. With it open, I was able to make some pretty tasty peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the back.